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The winners and losers of the 2019 Tour de France, so far

Joe Robinson
16 Jul 2019

In every walk of life there will be your winners and losers and the Tour de France is no different

From Brussels to Albi with La Planche de Belles Filles in between, the Tour de France has navigated Belgium and France for the past 10 days and the excitement has been palpable.

We had Eddy Merckx at the start in Belgium, we have had three wearers of the yellow jersey, 10 different winners in 10 days and five riders waved goodbye to the race.

It’s looking increasingly likely that Team Ineos/Sky/Deathstar will be wearing yellow in Paris once again and it looks just as likely that French hearts may be broken for a 34th year in a row.

Obviously, this is all guesswork but the last 10 days has produced as many winners and losers as a day at the races.

Below, Cyclist looks at who are the biggest winners and biggest losers of the 2019 Tour de France so far.

The winners so far

Julian Alaphilippe and Deceuninck-QuickStep

He's got the French dreaming, has Julian Alaphilippe. Taking yellow, losing yellow, and then taking it back again in a full-on Gallic double punch with Thibaut Pinot, not seen by home crowds since Daft Punk played Paris’s Rex Club in 1996. Julian has them dreaming.

Edith Piaf is being played on loudspeakers from town halls across the country, Raymond Blanc is making everyone a big vat of ratatouille, Eric Cantona’s on his trawler looking for seagulls.

President Macron is planning which day should be made a national holiday and the Mayor of Saint-Amand-Montrond is deciding whether he wants Alaphilippe’s statue to be made from bronze or marble.

Obviously, Alaphilippe is not going to win the Tour de France this year, but he could and that’s enough to keep the French dreaming.

Team Ineos

I’m unsure of the witchcraft and wizardry behind cycling’s Empire but somehow they go into the first rest day with second and third in General Classification and the virtual yellow jersey (don’t tell Julian that).

Obviously, it’s not witchcraft and wizardry, rather an unmatchable Tour experience, opportunistic riding and a sprinkling of good luck.

The experience and opportunistic riding was shown yesterday into Albi when Luke Rowe decided to drop the hammer, with Deceuninck-QuickStep, put the entire race into the gutter and obliterate the peloton in the crosswinds.

The luck came two days before: The Tour could have ended for Geraint Thomas after his topsy-turvy crash on Stage 8 that was enough to snap Gianni Moscon’s very expensive Pinarello Dogma F12 clean in half but he got away scratch-free and with no time loss.

All things now point to an Ineos 1-2 with Thomas and Egan Bernal come Paris.

Jumbo-Visma

Imagine having a team so good that three of your riders win bunch sprints at the Tour de France in the same year. Jumbo-Visma need not imagine, because it’s reality.

Mike Teunissen did the deed on day one, taking a win that caught us all off-guard before a dominant team time-trial took a second consecutive win on day two.

Dylan Groenewegen proved he is the fastest sprinter in the world on Stage 7 then, to top it off, Wout van Aert wowed us all to beat a packed field including Elia Viviani, Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan to a first Tour stage in his first participation, proving that he really is a special talent.

With Steven Kruijswijk and George Bennett, the Dutch bumblebees could conceivably bag a fifth stage win with a fifth different rider before Paris and guide GC-hunting Kruijswijk to a Tour podium in the process.

Cycling

Cor blimey, the first week of this year’s Tour de France has been as exciting as a Cricket World Cup Super Over and a Championships-deciding tie break at Wimbledon combined.

Sure, my memory's probably quite short, but that was 10 consecutive stages of high drama, jubilation, despair, comedy and disbelief that I’m struggling to remember seeing in cycling in the past decade.

Where to start? Pinot and Alaphilippe’s attack? Bradley Wiggins on the back of a motorbike? Yesterday’s echelons? Thomas de Gendt?

Cycling is the biggest winner here and with a terrifyingly difficult last week in the mountains to come, I think things can only get better.

Notable mentions: Dan Martin for not being dropped in the echelons, Elia Viviani for winning a stage and France for looking particularly beautiful.

And the losers...

Education First

Imagine being the team to instigate the carnage of crosswinds on yesterday’s run in to Albi before also finishing the day with no riders in the front group and your GC contender losing 1 minute 40 on a sprinters' day.

I can only imagine the atmosphere in the team hotel last night after what happened. I’m guessing things are pretty frosty between Rigoberto Uran, the rest of his team and the team’s staff.

You cannot help but think that if somebody with crosswind experience like Sep Vanmarcke had been racing, Rigo would never have haemorrhaged that time.

Romain Bardet

The biggest opportunity in decades for a Frenchman to take the yellow jersey into Paris and one of its biggest hopes is in some of the worst form of his career.

Bardet and AG2R La Mondiale lost a lot of time in the team time-trial, and then on the first mountain summit to Les Planche des Belle Filles, Bardet got dropped and lost more time.

He is already three minutes down on yellow and two minutes adrift from defending champion Thomas with another time-trial, in which Bardet will lose more time, still to come.

There’s not even a plausible chance that the boy from Brioude will reach the podium. The field already has too much of a head start. Shame that, Romain is a really nice chap. Deserves better.

Dimension Data

Now, I agree with Dimension Data not bringing Mark Cavendish for the Tour based on form. There was no proof that the 30-time stage winner would add to that total this year, let alone even make the time cut on some of the days.

What I don’t agree with is not taking the Manx Missile to a race he has consistently performed at when your team is at an all-time low and absolutely crying out for anything to kick start their season.

It also did not help that disagreements surrounding Cav between Doug Ryder and Rolf Aldag spilled out into the public domain.

Africa’s team are on a downward trajectory and need a miracle to stop the spiral.

The French public

People are sick of Piaf, Blanc’s ratatouille has gone cold, Cantona’s gone AWOL. Macron’s dealing with the gilets jaunes again and the Mayor of Saint-Amand-Montrond cannot get his deposit back on that Alaphilippe marble statue he paid out for.

Looking ahead, Julian’s lost 25 minutes on General Classification; barely made it halfway up the Tourmalet before grinding to a halt in tears. Poor Julian, someone give him a hug. Pinot’s scraped into the top 10 and Bardet went home because it was all getting a bit much.

Another year, another foreigner in their yellow jersey. Can they get Hinault riding again? It’s ok, maybe next year.

Notable mentions: Richie Porte for doing a Richie Porte